By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) and the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) both denied reports of a group abducting women and children.
Local police authorities made the pronouncement in the light of text messages and social media posts claiming that abductions occurred in their respective locality, or that someone they know had been victims of abductions.
Colonel Joeresty Coronica, Iloilo City police chief, reminded the public that sharing and/or posting fake news or misleading information on any social media platform is a crime.
The incident might aggravate if the misinformation and disinformation refer to the occurrence of a crime incident or details of the same.
One of the text messages warned people to be on alert as a group from Manila is in a village in Jaro, Iloilo City.
The incident was allegedly known after one of the group’s members was arrested after kidnapping a child and a teenager.
Meanwhile, an almost similar text message was also being circulated in Iloilo province.
Apparently, the same text messages about abduction, or attempts to abduct, have been circulated in the city and province of Iloilo several years ago.
Further, the message also warned of the vehicles used by the alleged abductors: a green van with plate number XMM-507 and a white van (VXM-357).
In a statement, the IPPO said “They would like to inform the public that the message, which is allegedly about a group of persons abducting women and children and is being circulated in various chat groups, is not true. If you receive such message, please do not forward to your family members and friends to stop this form of disinformation or fake news.”
Earlier, the PNP explained that posting and sharing of fake news may endanger public order.
It can also cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.
It cited Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code which prohibits and penalizes the unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.
Under the said law, fake news is considered a “public disorder” which penalizes “Any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State…”
However, Article 154 does not cover all news that may be shown to be untrue since it also encompasses false news that may endanger public order.